STAFF UPDATE, 9/24/2013:
From an RTC statement:
The Regional Transportation Commission was informed today that the Upper Southeast Communities Coalition has voluntarily dismissed its federal lawsuit seeking to stop construction of Phase I of the SouthEast Connector (SEC) based on alleged violations of the Clean Water Act. The RTC says this withdrawal is not surprising, because at no time did the RTC ever violate the Clean Water Act (CWA) or any other federal requirement.
A statement from the Upper Communities Coalition reads:
With written assurances from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) in hand that Phase 2 of the controversial Southeast Connector (SEC) is not a done deal, the Upper South East Communities Coalition (Coalition) today agreed to drop its attempt to stop Phase 1 of the SEC. The Coalition had been concerned that the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County (RTC) had, by starting on Phase 1 without federal permits, locked itself into a route for the SEC that would raise flood risk in the region to unacceptable levels. The project has long been a point of controversy, with residents and businesses citing safety and environmental concerns over the route selected for the highway.
RENO, Nev. (AP) - Critics of a major road project linking southeast Reno to Sparks have filed a federal lawsuit seeking to halt construction.
The suit filed Monday in U.S. District court argues environmental effects were improperly assessed, putting the public at risk.
The Reno Gazette-Journal reports that the lawsuit demands the Regional Transportation Commission and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stop work until adequate environmental reviews are complete.
Critics argue the project raises the risk of potential flooding of nearby homes and exposure to harmful contamination from mercury-laden Steamboat Creek.
The suit also says it damage sensitive wetlands and habitat of the threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout.